The Sibley Chart

One of the main problems of the history of the USA is that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when it became nation. Could it be when Columbus landed, when the first settlement was established, when the colonies decided to unite as a single country or is it really when the main political leaders decided to revolt against British rule?

The Sibley chart was erected at the time when the US constitution was supposedly signed. However, the legal separation between America and Britain took place on 2nd July 1776 with Congress adopting it on 4th July 1776. Many of the signatories at the bottom of the document did not sign until August and London did not hear of the adoption until 30 August 1776.[1] So why do astrologers use the Sibley chart? Dane Rudhyar, (who has already done a sterling job in detailing the “coincidences” of the Sibley chart) in his article, “The Riddle of the USA Horoscope,” says that “with the Declaration of Independence, the people of the Colonies proclaimed to the world — the international environment — that they had achieved the consciousness of unity, a definite individuality.”[2] The time of this proclamation has been guessed, rectified and re-rectified but it is the recollections of Ebenzer Sibley (the chart he drew up above), a physician and doctor living in London, who recorded that the relevant documents had been signed just after 10 pm on 4 July 1776 (giving a rising degree of 12 degrees 21 minutes Sagittarius), Greenwich mean time or just after 5pm Philadelphia time (or, as commonly taken, 5:10pm). Rudyhar rectified the time to 5:13:55, 13 degrees 10 minutes Sagittarius rising. Irrespective of the myths surrounding the events on the Fourth of July, it is the date in which Americans collectively celebrate their independence from British rule. The time may still be controversial but the themes of the event and subsequent chart echoes in the opening sentences of very document that was signed:

 “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”[3]

The idealism of Neptune in Libra, “in order to form a more perfect union,” the Sagittarian search for truth and justice in establishing justice, the Aquarian Moon securing the blessings of liberty, the Cancerian stellium’s themes in insuring domestic tranquility and the more 2nd house Plutonian theme of securing posterity all seem to indicate that the Sibley chart is a rightful fit for the USA as a nation.

One final point that needs to be made is that the “United States of America” imposed itself on a land that had been occupied for thousands of years by Native people with their own languages, customs, religions and politics. This mundane chart, in my opinion, reflects the European imposition of its customs on the people already inhabiting the land. With this in mind, interpretation can begin.

It can be seen from the Sibley chart that the US is a strongly Cancerian country with a four planet stellium of Venus, Jupiter, Sun and Mercury. It is also strong in cardinal signs indicating the nation is one that thrives on action. Indeed, the US has been a “world leader” for quite a few generations. The chart is strong in the element of water indicating it is a compassionate nation that can find itself cast in the role of “mother” for other nations. This tendency is perhaps best illustrated by the country’s reputation for welcoming people from all over the world who had suffered through drought and famine, religious and political persecution or had just fancied taking their chances in a new country. Curiously, for a country so frequently criticized for its war-mongering, there are no planets in fire signs. Viewed astrologically, it would seem the US does not quite deserve its hot-headed reputation. The Sibley chart also shows a lack of earth planets (except for Neptune and Pluto) indicating a lack of consideration for practical matters.

The ascendant of the Sibley chart is Sagittarius. According to the authors of “Mundane Astrology,” the first house may represent “the myths of the nation, its image and self image, national characteristics and. . .the nature of the state.”[4] The myth of the US is that of the “wild west” with millions of horses, its optimistic hope for freedom, wide open frontiers complete with savage natives in dire need of conversion to a better God and to a better way of life. What more could a Sagittarian ascendant ask for? Well, steeped in American folklore is the tall story of “Bill Bunyon” and his blue Ox, Babe. Both characters were portrayed as being larger than life or perhaps an allegory of the speed at which the country was tamed into submission by conquering the frontier.

The chart ruler, Jupiter falls in the 7th house, the house of “open enemies”. The authors of “Mundane Astrology” indicate that Jupiter “represents the law, both as a means to ensure justice and a means to control the population; and it represents religion, both as a deep experience and as a function of state control.”[5] The USA as we know it began as a group of Pilgrims, under religious persecution in Britain, arrived on the shores of what would become New England in the early 17th century. Previously these lands had been explored by Christopher Columbus (and others earlier) in 1492—who also had it mind to convert the savages to Christianity: “I think they can very easily be made Christians, for they seem to have no religion. . .” Columbus wrote, “I could conquer the whole of them with 50 men, and govern them as I pleased.”[6] There was a certain confidence that the land could be “conquered” with God’s approval, attributes that may be associated with Sagittarius and its ruler Jupiter. The US has always welcomed people from all religions, a controversial stance that has set the scene for many congressional arguments over what it means to have freedom of religion, an example of how too much of a good thing can cause an awful lot of problems. Or, to put it astrologically: in the 7th house, Jupiter has a tendency to take over.

Linked to the chart ruler by wide conjunction is the sun, located in the 8th, in Cancer. The authors of “Mundane Astrology” write that “the sun can represent both the effective political leader and the symbolic head of state. It can also show the way in which the nation expresses itself, the myths and images it projects and the way in which foreigners view the nation.”[7] The 8th house is said to represent international finance and multinational and transnational corporations according to Baigent et al. The authors go on to note that the result of 7th house activity is often death so the 8th house rules death. In addition to the US’ status as a big player in international markets, it is interesting that the funeral industry and all its trappings so eloquently pointed out by Elizabeth Kubler Ross in the late 1970’s is big business in the US (as is the wedding industry). The US is also known for its proponents in the pursuit of life after death and also its search for eternal youth. I wonder if the Sun in Cancer in the 8th ruled by the Moon in Aquarius could signify the “death” of the American family in the traditionally sense, making way for a more modern, more emotionally detached alternative (perhaps Venus in Cancer trine the Moon softens this).

Square to the Sun is Saturn in the 11th. According to Baigent et al, Saturn represents the state and its institutions and, collectively, the amount of freedom a society permits or denies itself, whilst the 11th house rules the governing institutions and the nation’s hopes and wishes. The US has long been regarded as a new or even inexperienced nation in the eyes of more established nations such as the UK and I think this is a good representation of the Sun/Saturn square. Additionally, there is a strong conservative streak within the US which frequently challenges the hopes and dreams of freedom so clearly set out in the Constitution and other documents such as the Bill of Rights and upheld by the elected president and congress. Quite simply, the American Right will say “you can do what you like—as long as we approve.”

The Sun rules the 9th house which magnifies the US’ part in foreign politics and its fascination with religious freedom as well as its pursuit of ensuring everyone can access higher education (one of the main triggers of the Civil Rights movement was segregation in public schools). Additionally, the US seems to make internal changes through becoming aware of how it comes across to other countries. For example, condemnation of segregation laws: whilst these laws protected the identity (Sun in Cancer) of white America, it denied the freedom and dignity of Blacks and other minorities—an example of the Sun inconjunct the ascendant in Sagittarius.

The Moon of the US chart is in Aquarius in the 3rd house. In mundane charts, the Moon rules the common people (particularly women) whilst the 3rd house rules how the nations communicates. Aquarius is a sign which appreciates equality and innovation and as it is located in the 3rd house this is especially relevant to ideas and communication. The US patent office is the foremost tester and approver of inventions in the world, providing anyone the opportunity to change the world through novel ideas. (Interestingly Thomas Edison[8], one of the world’s greatest inventors had his Neptune conjunct the Moon of the Sibley chart and his Jupiter only a couple degrees away from Uranus.) Further, as has been noted, the US has always held freedom and equality as its central ideals. The American people have collectively looked at themselves objectively and sought to change themselves as necessary through revolutions both great and small. (The Moon’s ruler, Uranus, during its conjunction with Pluto in the 1960’s, was conjunct the Neptune of the Sibley chart during the flower-power revolution). In theory, anyone can become president of the US as long as they were born in the country. However, the sesquiquadrate between the sun and moon may mean that this premise can be challenged and changed. There has yet to be a woman president but the election of Barack Obama, a person of mixed race, has effectively changed the unspoken assumption that only a white man can do the job. The idea that one has to be American born may also change if Arnold Schwarzenegger[9] (who has both his Uranus and Mars conjunct the Mars of the Sibley chart) has his way. The Moon is trine to both Venus in Cancer and Mars in Gemini, both in the 7th, suggesting that the people enjoy events which brings families together and those that hold the state together. An example of this may be the parades, such as those held on the 4th July, which are both family outings and passive displays of military strength—but above all, parades are an opportunity to demonstrate passionate “homeland” patriotism.

The Sun/Moon midpoint brings together the common people and the national identity.[10] The only planet to make contact to this midpoint is Chiron. Baigent et al do not take Chiron into consideration. However, I would like to assert that the national identity of the US is tied up with its status as being a land of immigrants which welcomes immigrants. This creates the wound of not knowing where one belongs or of surrendering an identity upon entering the US as so many immigrants had to do (along with adjusting the spelling of their names, learning English, concealing or being ashamed of their National identity and denying the Mother Tongue to subsequent generations in order to fit in to the American way of life).

The ascendant/MC midpoint links together the mythology of the country with the way it is actually seen by the rest of the world.[11] There are no connections to planets on the midpoints. However, it is worth noting that during the terrible events of 11 September 2001, both the Sun and Saturn fall on the indirect asc/MC midpoint. Americans had to face up to the idea that they were not as well liked in the world as they had once thought. Many individual Americans declared they had no idea that they were so unpopular in the world.

The Mercury of the US chart is in Cancer, in the 8th house. It seems cynical to say that American money talks but this seems to fit the signification. The speeches made by American presidents are packed with promises about taxes and, more recently, health care reform that will not result in further taxation (which no one seems to believe, perhaps a manifestation of Mercury sextile Neptune). Opposite to Mercury is Pluto in the 2nd. Perhaps underlying all communications and disagreements in the US are the untapped resources or promise of hidden treasure that will finally unlock the key to all that ails America. It is also worth noting that Mercury is retrograde, perhaps emphasizing the tendency of American writers to be acute observers of their homeland and the quirky mannerisms of its people. As an aside, American Literature is full of innovative writers and speakers such as Ernest Hemingway[12] (N Venus on Sun of the Sibley chart), Martin Luther King[13] (N Sun and N Mars on the Moon and Mars of the Sibley chart respectively)and Maya Angelou[14] (whose Mars is on the Moon and Pluto on the Sun of the Sibley chart). American Literature is a particular interest to me and I have a growing collection of “hits” to the Sibley chart involving authors and publication dates.

The Venus of the US chart is also in Cancer. Much has been said about Jupiter, which is conjunct Venus, except that within most social functions there is an element of the religious: benedictions and prayers, quiet reflections during the national anthem (not many people can actually sing it—a further manifestation of the Mercury/Pluto opposition?) and stirring pledges of allegiance to the “one nation under God”.[15] Again, it is difficult to justify the war mongering reputation the US has been accused of when the peaceful planet of Venus is in the 7th. Venus also rules the MC, suggesting that the collective people want to project the image of a united yet polite front

The Mars of the US chart is in Gemini in the 7th. From the time a child (Mars ruling 5th) enters school, they are encouraged to make a pledge to the American flag. They are simple words that have a strong effect on the collective American psyche:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Mars in Gemini is about aggressive communication that is meant to put on a united front to whatever enemies may be represented by the 7th house. Patriotism is extremely strong in the US—astrologically enhanced by the stellium in Cancer—but bolstered by Mars in Gemini in 7th. Though Mars in Gemini isn’t particularly loyal per se, a trine to Saturn astrologically ensures that the controlling forces of the state also use the pledge to enforce a commitment (all US branches of the military have their own pledges but the pledge to flag is the main one). The US is known for its relentless pursuit of oil and natural gas–a delusion astrologically explained by Mars squareNeptune–which has caused significant loss of life and financial resources.

Saturn is located in Libra in the 11th house. Baigent et al indicate that Saturn in Libra is the precise and rigid checks and balances on the American constitution. The constitution is the agreement people agree to adhere to when they become citizens whether through birth or the naturalization process in America. Saturn rules the 2nd house which I think is the firm belief that anyone who works hard (Capricorn) will achieve the American Dream (Saturn in 11th). Except through an elaborate process in Congress, the constitution is not subject to alteration or negotiation. In the Sibley chart, Saturn is in trine to Uranus in the 6th showing that this protection of the American ideal (Saturn in 11th) is extended to civil employees and public servants as evidenced by the establishment of trade unions and the protection of workers’ rights.

Sitting somewhat awkwardly near the descendant is Uranus, perhaps signifying the unpredictability of the “open enemies” of the USA. Uranus in the Sibley chart is important because its return to its original degree coincided with two of the most significant events in UShistory: the start of the Civil War in 1861 and the Normandy Invasion of 1944. Both of these transits fit the assertions of the authors of “Mundane Astrology” that “Uranus is linked to all revolutions and innovations in society.”[16] In the run up to the Civil War, the northern and southern states of the union were in disagreement over the issue of slavery (there were other issues but this is perhaps the most significant). The tension mounted until the first shots of the war were fired on the morning of 12 April 1861 in North Carolina. Likewise in the run up to D-Day, tensions between the US and the Axis powers had been building until the US felt it must get involved with the war. On both occasions, Uranus had been within 25 minutes of the original Uranus degree in the Sibley chart (8 degrees 55 minutes Gemini).

Though conjunct the descendant, Uranus is located in the 6th house, the house the authors of “Mundane Astrology” indicate rules service and therefore all employed classes. The US has a long standing policy protecting the health of its workers through scrutiny of safety policies (Uranus trine Saturn) and payouts for illness or injury as a result of negligent employers. Further, at the time of writing, the US is awaiting news (Uranus ruling 3rd) from the president about health care reforms (T Venus, ruler of the 6th house of the Sibley chart conjunct the Mercury of Sibley chart).

Baigent et al indicate the 10th house “indicates the ideals which a society seeks to attain and consciously cultivates.”[17] Located in the 10th house, Neptune in Virgo represents the glamour and illusion of American life: one only has to watch a bit of American TV to get the idea that all Americans are rich, have more than one car, that families get along perfectly and everyone is impossibly witty and cheerful. The façade of affluence can astrologically be seen by Neptune’s trine to Pluto in the 2nd.

The 2nd house contains the planet Pluto in Capricorn, a seemingly sinister placement. Pluto rules underground and hidden secrets in society whilst the 2nd house rules material resources. The suggestion of this significator would be that there is a secret society in control of the US’ resources. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, Pluto was opposed to itself and American lore is full of tales of gangsters, bootleggers and other underground movements that functioned invisibly beneath the noses of authority (Saturn, ruler of 2nd, trine Uranus and Mars).



[1] History News Network, “Top 5 Myths about the Fourth of July” Article found on-line July 2009 at:  http://hnn.us/articles/132.html

[2] Rudhyar, Dane The Riddle of the USA Horoscope, article found on-line at: http://www.khaldea.com/rudhyar/astroarticles/riddleusahoroscope.shtml.  Website accessed July 2009

[3] Preamble of the US Constitution, from author’s memory

[4] Baigent, Michael, Campion, Nicholas, Harvey, Charles, Mundane Astrology, The Aquarian Press (1994), p. 228

[5] Ibid, p.222

[6] “Pre-Columbian Hispaniola — Arawak/Taino Indians”. Available on-line at http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/43a/100.html.  Website accessed July 2009

[7] Baigent, Michael, Campion, Nicholas, Harvey, Charles, Mundane Astrology, The Aquarian Press (1994), p. 220

[8] 11 February 1874, 3:00 am,MilanOhio.  Astrodatabank

[9] 30 July 1947, 4:10 am,GrazAustria. Astrodatabank

[10] The direct sun/moon would be 5 degrees 6 minutes of the fixed signs and 20 degrees 6minutes of the Cardinal signs

[11] The direct asc/MC is 1 degree 42 minutes of fixed signs and 16 degrees 42 minutes of the mutable signs

[12] 21 July 1899, 8:00 am,Oak ParkIllinois. Astrodatabank

[13] 15 January 1929, 12:00AtlantaGeorgia. Astrodatabank

[14] 4 April 1928, 14:10,St LouisMissouri. Astrodatabank

[15] The “Pledge of Allegiance:”  I pledge to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God indivisibly with liberty and justice for all

[16] Baigent, Michael, Campion, Nicholas, Harvey, Charles, Mundane Astrology, The Aquarian Press (1994), p. 223

[17] Baigent, Michael, Campion, Nicholas, Harvey, Charles, Mundane Astrology, The Aquarian Press (1994), p. 231

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